Meet foster parent Sharon and Peter who have been fostering with FCA since 2020. They tell us about their fostering experience and journey.
“We use to foster previously and when we moved to Wales we thought with lockdown there might be a lot more children needing care so decided to get back into it.
Well, the silly story is that we bought a church that needed completely renovating. It wasn't a house in any way, so we were building it from the ground up and then lockdown happened and we were renovating the bathroom and we didn't have a bath, just a shower. I rang another fostering provider and I said we've got a shower but not a bath can we foster? they couldn't answer the question. I rang FCA and they answered the question straight away and said yes you can foster without a bath. We then started looking into FCA, we read the reviews and just liked what they had to offer, their training, everything plus they are local to us.
We were expecting we would foster teenagers because we wrongly thought that fostering agencies only have much older children but we started off with two siblings who were aged seven and eight. One of the siblings had very challenging behaviour so the decision was made to split the boys and the younger brother moved on. It broke our hearts we did our best and just felt it wasn't good enough. But on the other hand it brought his older brother out of his shell, he’d been with us for nearly a year and barely said 100 words and now he just doesn't stop talking. He's a totally different kid. He needed to be separated from his brother, he's really thriving now.
We were then matched with a six year old and 11 year old siblings who were placed alongside our first child that we had who was soon to be 11 years old. So our two 11 year olds who aren't siblings are in the same year and same class at school and it works really well”.
Looking back on their best fostering moments
“I think for us it is some of the comments that the children have made about us to other people such as their social workers and it’s the small things like there was food and nice meals. Their mum and dad didn't cook, they would buy £50 worth of crisps, biscuits, chocolates and sweets which the children thought was absolutely amazing, obviously. But when it was gone, it was gone. When we cooked meals at first they didn't like anything they only wanted crisps and sweets. But now when our foster child tells someone that she likes carrot or that she likes salad or that she had an apple it is a huge achievement.
Our 11 year old foster child couldn’t wait to tell everyone about her new prom dress and that is her dress, she'd never had any new clothes before. All of her clothes had been handed down”.
When speaking about the challenges faced as foster parents, Sharon said “where do we start? in our experience most the foster children including some teenagers have no knife and fork skills, toilet skills or manners. Trying to get the children out to try new things too can be difficult. Within about six weeks of the two siblings coming to us we went on holiday. I arranged what I thought was the best kid friendly day on the planet. Swimming, soft play, arcade, out for lunch there was an excellent children's menu and all these other things. At the end of the day our foster child came up to me and said well that was crap, wasn't it? I thought you were going to promise me a good day I didn't enjoy that at all. So the next morning when we got up, I cancelled plans for the rest of the week and said you can decide today what we're doing so we sat in the caravan watching DVD's, because at home they weren't allowed out so for them being inside sitting in and watching DVD's was a safe space. It was a challenge to get the children to understand nothing's going to happen to them and understand why things are the way they are. Every child is different and can find it difficult to remember who you are our youngest foster child called me that lady for about three weeks”.
Support from FCA
“We do all the mandatory training and attend support groups and ADAPT groups which help us and it reminds you these children have got trauma and everything they're displaying is for a reason, it's not them being rude or difficult it's them trying to scream and shout for help in a way that they".
Sharon and Pete sum up there fostering experience as a whole with one word worthwhile, and their advice to someone thinking about fostering “Just do it. Don't think about it. Don't do the pros and cons just do it because of the changes you can make to somebody's life. Attend the meetings, use other people's experience and advice and go to the support groups, contact your social worker for support, attend the family activities organised by FCA it's a free fun day out. But bear with it and persevere obviously you have a honeymoon period and then when the honeymoon period ends, that means that they're settled that they're relaxed and in some cases can start expressing themselves but don't ever worry about that. That period will end and you will move on to the next stage which is a wonderful family I would say."
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